Gun salutes mark Queen’s birthday as world waits on Kate

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery stage a 41-gun royal salute in Hyde Park, London.
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery stage a 41-gun royal salute in Hyde Park, London.
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Gun salutes have been fired to mark the Queen’s 89th birthday.

Soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fired a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

And in the capital, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery - in full dress uniform - rode their horses past Buckingham Palace in the sunshine en route to Hyde Park to stage a 41-gun royal salute using six First World War-era 13-pounder Field Guns at midday.

Before the King’s Troop arrived in Hyde Park, the Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position, as crowds gathered to watch the annual display.

An hour later, the Honourable Artillery Company began firing a 62-gun royal salute from the riverbank at the Tower of London, overlooking HMS Belfast. Three L118 Ceremonial Light Guns, similar to those used operationally in recent years in Afghanistan, were used to fire the salute across the River Thames.

The Queen, who is waiting to see if her fifth great-grandchild makes an appearance on her birthday, is spending the day privately at Windsor Castle where she has been staying for the past month for Easter Court.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Royal fans are hoping the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child, which is due any day now, will make today a double celebration for the monarch. William is now on unpaid leave after finishing the first phase of his air ambulance helicopter training as he and Kate bide their time until their newborn arrives.

Bookmakers Coral cut the odds on the royal baby being delivered on April 21 to 10 to 1 - now joint favourite with Saturday April 25, the reported due date.

Coral’s John Hill said: “There’s every chance it could happen if you believe the odds.”

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40am on April 21 1926 - the first child of the then Duke and Duchess of York - at 17 Bruton Street, the Mayfair home of her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Elizabeth II is Head of State, the Armed Forces, the Commonwealth and the Church of England, and has been married to the Duke of Edinburgh for more than 67 years. She has four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, with her fifth due before the end of the month.

She has been on the throne for more than 63 years and on September 9, she will overtake Victoria to become the longest reigning monarch in British history.

The Queen has two birthdays - her actual one on April 21 and her official one in June, which is celebrated with the Trooping the Colour parade.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The soldiers of 3/29 (Corunna) Battery of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun salute in the Museum Gardens in York. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.